Via Brian Webber: Promoter Eddie Hearn believes IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev will be the winner of his three-belt unification fight with WBO champion Joe Smith Jr on June 18.
Top ranked Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) and Smith (28-3, 22 KOs) will be the headlines live on ESPNESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Choosing Olympian Beterbiev to beat Smith twice was a logical choice on Hearn’s part. He looked impressive with a recent stoppage-time win over his WBC mandatory Marcus Browne last December.
For his part, Smith struggled to beat Maxim Vlasov by a 12-round majority decision last year, and his only fight since has been against little-known Steve Geffrard.
Hearn wanted his fighter Joshua Buatsi to challenge the winner of the Beterbiev vs Smith match for the third belt. Buatsi (16-0, 13 KOs) is ranked #2 IBF, #2 WBA, #4 WBC & #6 WBO.
If Canelo Alvarez can avenge his loss to this year’s WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, he would be an option to take on winner Beterbiev vs. Smith at some point.
Listen, choose Betterbiev over Smith
“Right now, you have a very focused division because you already have two champions. Well, you’ve got three champions going to be two champions, and the footage isn’t really there,” Eddie Hearn told. DAZN Boxing Show about 175 lb champions Artur Beterbiev, Joe Smith Jr. and Dmitry Bivol.
“If one comes up, you have to take it. It’s a unified championship, so someone’s going to win,” Hearn said of the June 18 light heavyweight unification bout between IBF/WBC champion Beterbiev and WBO belt holder Smith Jr.
“There will only be one champion after the battle for those belts [IBF, WBC & WBO]and [WBA champion] Dmitry Bivol. But I believe that Betterbiev will win that war“Hearn predicted.
Hearn is in a difficult situation trying to pick the right champion to face his fighter Buatsi against this year.
What we saw of Buatsi last weekend in his win over Craig Richards was that a boxer needs more experience, but he won’t get there before being eliminated with Bivol or the winner. Beterbiev-Smith.
Arum rules out the undisputed clash
“This is going to be a great, great fight between two light heavyweights that can punch,” said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum. Fighthype about the 175-lb three-belt unity clash between Beterbiev and Smith Jr next month on June 18.
“Bivol fights on the DAZN platform and We don’t care that our warriors fight on DAZN. They want to fight on ESPN, where they have the biggest audience.”
This means that fans won’t get a chance to witness an undisputed clash taking place in light heavyweight.
What could change Arum’s stance, of course, is if Canelo can get his hands on the 175-lb WBA belt held by Dmitry Bivol. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely Canelo will beat Bivol in their rematch this year or in 2023.